Here’s an excerpt from an article published on Monday by Outside Magazine. This guy, Marc Perruzi, thinks that Snowboarding is on its last legs.
Do you think Snowboarding is doomed?
by Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine
“It sounds like borderline bigotry to say it, but I have “snowboarding friends.” In fact, from adulthood on, most of my skiing memories are tied up with snowboarding. Frankly, skiing would be a lot less fun without it. From twin tips and fat skis to better clothing and a more laissez-faire attitude at ski resorts, the advent of snowboarding dramatically altered my once-stale sport. So please trust that I’m not just a hater when I say this: Snowboarding is screwed.
Many a destination resort will admit privately that snowboarding now accounts for less than 15 percent of total revenue. Others have seen snowboard visits cut in half. Sales of snowboarding gear are down dramatically, too, a whopping 29 percent over the past six years. Where did all the snowboarders go? Many are skiing. Others simply quit.
It didn’t really have to be like this. The problem isn’t so much snowboarding, but the snowboarding industry. The sport was invented by humble folk in the Midwest (by a friend’s grandfather) and Vermont (by some older classmates of my wife), but it was adopted by Southern California. Actually it was more of an alien rendition than an adoption. Most snowboarders in places like Maine, Montana, and Colorado have little affiliation with the carefully cultivated image of “action sports.” Then there’s the ageism. Over 30 years old but still get out and shred? The industry lives in absolute dread of you.
I’m not making this up. Each February I experience the unrestrained joy of attending the ski and snowboard trade show in Denver. Here’s what I see when I walk the snowboard section: Underage snowboarders puking in the corridors after one too many keg stands—at 10 a.m. And overseeing all this fabricated youthfulness? Fifty-year-old white dudes in flat-brim caps, tight jeans, and designer flannel. Chuckleheads. Leveraging snowboarding’s rebel cred, they modeled its image on skateboarding and aimed it almost entirely at teenagers.
That worked great for a while. Then snowboarding went mainstream—the X Games, Mountain Dew ads, Shaun White—and, inevitably, it lost a bit of its mojo. The first generation of riders got real jobs and started having kids, and snowboarding’s image never matured to accommodate them.
As snowboarding went narrow, skiing went big. Today’s skiers can choose to carve turns, launch off the slopestyle jumps, hammer bumps, navigate steeps, tour the backcountry, rip bottomless pow, race in a beer league, or just go skiing like a vacationer from Chicago or Boca Friggin’ Raton. It’s cool; there’s a place for you and a group of likeminded folks who would love to have you. Cooler still if you’re a lifelong enthusiast? Dabble in all the above. Skiing isn’t golf; there’s always some new adventure waiting for you.” – Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine
This article ends with this bold statement:
And why are they hanging with a sport that doesn’t care about them anymore? Because snowboarding is fun. And, ultimately, that’s all that matters. If, like skiing, the industry does a better job of making everybody feel comfortable, it might even thrive. If not, skiing will continue to absorb snowboarders, much as Homo sapiens absorbed Neanderthals. Take what you will from that analogy. And allow me to preempt your letter to the editor: I’m a hater.” – Marc Peruzzi/Outside Magazine
Read the full article here: